Date of Conferral
In Texas and across the United States, minority male juvenile offenders are overrepresented in juvenile detention facilities. Researchers have demonstrated an inverse relationship between levels of empathy and antisocial beliefs and delinquent behaviors in juveniles. Understanding this relationship is an important step in designing and implementing rehabilitative interventions for juvenile detainees. Grounded in social learning theory and the social empathy model, the current study addressed whether significant differences in empathy existed between nonminority and minority male juvenile offenders with felony and nonfelony offenses within a juvenile detention facility in rural Texas. A de-identified data set of 357 Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) questionnaires was analyzed. The data set contained only males ranging in age from 10 to 17 years. A two-way analysis of variance indicated no significant mean differences in measured empathy between nonminority and minority detainees, or between those with felony and nonfelony offenses. Results suggest that the site facility may focus its rehabilitative resources on broad empathy interventions regardless of minority status or offense. Results do not support targeting specific demographics for empathy interventions.